Curiosity and knowledge is vital when you are foraging for food, around the city, in the mountains or deep in the forest you can come across edible flora.
By Giulio Sturla
The list of edible products that you can find in nature is very long, many of them considered weeds or just ornament plants. They can however be very nutritious and rich in vitamins, if they are picked at the right time and cooked properly. It is absolutely possible to create a whole new world of flavors, even a little independence from the food system that obligates you to get your food from the supermarket.
I have done many foraging trips, and those leaves, fruits, berries have become part of my diet, every time the curiosity to know and learn becomes greater. With many books available it is not too difficult to venture out into the forest or to a good green space (spray free) near you. And always follow the golden rule – If in doubt, don’t eat it.
Mushrooms like boletus, morels or puffballs are very easy to recognize, but make sure you read about them before hand. Miners lettuce, oxalis, nasturtiums, chickweed, purslane, chamomile, etc are among the most common, you can dig up some roots like dandelion (roasted, they are a great coffee substitute), wild horseradish, wild carrots, scorzonera. In the summer wild berries are pretty much everywhere, try to get them before the birds when they are ripe. Be ready with a good bag to pick nuts or fruits that you can find in trees when walking and with your sense of smell try to look for seeds like fennel, parsley and usually you can find the brassica family growing wild.
Giulio is a nature and food lover. He has been cooking for the last 12 years. He endeavors for local, honest, delicious food to be shared with everyone. He is now pursuing his dream project in Lyttelton - New Zealand, a community restaurant based on good values and respect for the soil.
Last summer I made pizza fiorentina using dandelion leaves from our garden instead of spinach. Hubby was horrified but kids were delighted! Next will be nettle soup…